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TV Review: Call The Midwife (Series 7)


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Call The Midwife is well known for being a show that packs an emotional punch and this year was absolutely no exception.

From Trixie's ongoing battle with alcoholism, to various mothers with serious health issues and a heartwrenching storyline involving Barbara, you will absolutely need a massive pack of tissues on hand while watching this season.

This season feels very much like a changing of the guard, with Trixie gone most of the season due to actress Helen George's pregnancy and Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) only appearing in the last few episodes. It therefore falls to Valerie (Jennifer Kirby), Phyllis (Linda Bassett) and new midwife Lucille (Leonie Elliott) to take up most of the midwifery duties this season. The beauty of this show is that all of the cast members are so talented, so whilst of course, I missed Trixie and Barbara while they weren't there, the show doesn't suffer for it. 

New midwife Lucille (Leonie Elliott) is an excellent addition to the cast; she fits in so well that it feels like she has been there for years and having her on the show adds an exciting new dynamic to the cast. She and Valerie play off each other very well, and their scenes together were definitely highlights of the new series. An especially notable moment being when they ran a sexual health clinic in episode six: Valerie's frankness and Lucille's uncomfortableness made for a hilarious combination. I hope Lucille is around for several years to come because she is just wonderful. 

Trixie's storyline this year is particularly heartbreaking. It all starts off very well, with Trixie happy in the glow of her new relationship with dentist Christopher Dockerill and them taking the next step together with a weekend break to a hotel but things quickly go downhill. Trixie ends up breaking off the relationship when she realises the effects on Dockerill's daughter Alexandra. This combined with an incredibly stressful case involving a pregnant mother and her daughter, both suffering from Huntington's Disease, pushes Trixie over the edge. It's harrowing to see her drinking again, but both as a storyline and an exit strategy to explain Helen George's absence, it works really well. Alcoholism is a lifelong battle and it's nice to see Call The Midwife highlighting that with Trixie's story this year. 

Call The Midwife always tackles very serious issues with such grace and care - it's one of the reasons why I love the show so much, and this season was no exception. The introduction of Lucille means Call The Midwife finally tackles the racism of the 60's in a more head on way - something it was desperately overdue for. Once again, we see the ramifications of illegal abortions through the Turner's new au pair, Magda, and it is honestly horrifying to me that this was allowed to go on so long. I hope that the series makes it into 1967 so we can finally see our backwards abortion laws reversed.

Particularly touching stories this year, involved a mother who had a stroke after the birth of her child and a mother whose sister was locked in a mental asylum because she had underage sex - something called moral insanity, which I had no idea was a thing until I watched this show. It's incredible how much of a taboo unmarried sex was back then - to the point where they would lock women in asylums for it? That's unbelievable. 

It was nice to see Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) get a few storylines of her own this year as, in the past, the character has been around for mostly comic relief (a role she still serves in this series). But this year, she gets her chance to be in the spotlight a little bit, with a storyline involving her losing her eyesight and a beautiful arc in the final episode which focuses on her birthday. Sister Monica Joan is one of my favourite characters - in a show where so much of it is very hard hitting, she always makes me smile, and there is a particularly hilarious moment in the final episode where she makes everyone crack up by including people she has seen on screen at the cinema in the nuns' daily prayers.

The entire series was brilliant, but episodes seven and eight are particularly outstanding. To go into too much detail would venture into spoilery territory, but just know that you will need to keep the tissues on hand - the stories even broke me, and I don't usually cry at TV shows! Tom (Jack Ashton), Phyllis (Linda Bassett) and Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) are particularly outstanding in those episodes, though the rest of the cast also does a wonderful job.

I honestly thought nothing could top last year's series, but this year's was even more brilliant and touching. I touched on some of the storylines for this year, but there were so many beautiful, touching moments, that it is hard to hit them all!

Call The Midwife is one of the best shows on TV right now, and after the incredible highs (and lows) of this series, I can't wait to see what the Christmas special has in store for us this year.

Call The Midwife will return for a Christmas special later this year.

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